Food and Fitness Tips

Happy Thursday All!  It’s Friday Eve!

Chef P has the day off tomorrow so we’re heading to Borough Market in London by train!  We were there just before Christmas last year, so at least I know what to expect and what I can get there!

I’ll talk about that in another post, but for today, I’m going to give you some food and fitness tips and just some general well-being tips; well probably more food tips, but it’s nice to throw something different in once in a while. 🙂

Stop-Smoking-Aids¤ Stop Smoking!  Probably the number one thing you really should do.  Women who stop smoking by the age of 30 reduce their risk of dying of tobacco-related diseases by 97%.  Quit by 40 and your risk is reduced by 90%.  Stop Smoking Day here in the UK is March 13….next week.  What a perfect time to give it up for good!

¤  Drink your H2O.  Water is a secret weight-loss weapon.  Dehydration slows your metabolism and stops fat burning.  But 10 minutes after drinking 500ml/17fl oz. of cold water, your rate of calorie burning rises by 30% and peaks after 30 minutes.  Nearly half of that comes from your body trying to heat the water.

¤ Enjoy your food.  Don’t just woof it down!  A recent paper published in Obesity found those who chewed their food properly, keeping it in their mouths for up to eight minutes(!) before swallowing, ate less.  Chewing properly also helps release nutrients from the food, so you don’t need to eat as much to absorb the right amounts.

pasta¤  Eat Pasta!  White pasta has an undeserved bad image:  The Mediterranean diet uses white pasta and is one of the healthiest diets in the world.  It proves you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat healthy.  Pasta is high carb, but low on the Glycemic Index, because the starch molecules are encapsulated in a unique way in the pasta dough.  However, don’t overcook it as this breaks down the structures, raising the GI.

¤ Keep a food diary.  Keeping a food diary can help you lose weight.  If you’ve had a bad week, you can go back and pinpoint where you screwed up it went wrong.

¤ Cut down on the saturated fats.  Yes, we’ve heard this before, but this is great for keeping your heart healthy.  Even though you cut out the saturated fats, your body still needs fat so you need to consume the good ones, in particular the oils found in avocados, nuts, sees and evening primrose oil.

¤ Try coconut oil.  Coconut oil is great in food and has so many benefits.  It doesn’t degrade at high cooking temps, unlike many other oils and you can even use it in smoothies.  It’s high in lauric acid – a good thing (a type of saturated fatty acid – also a good thing), which can speed up metabolism and great for your joints.  Go for an extra-virgin, raw, cold-pressed oil to really benefit your health.

nocake¤ Crave a dessert after dinner?  Brush your teeth after eating.  The taste of the toothpaste and the time it takes distracts you, so your craving goes away.  Pop a toothbrush in your bag if eating out.

¤  Avoid drinking water with dinner.  Too much fluid can dilute the digestive enzymes in your mouth and stomach, making them less effective.  Aim to drink 30 minutes either side of your meal.  An occasional glass of wine with dinner is fine, but sip it slowly to make the most of it.

sleepy_cat¤ Get some sleep!  Lack of sleep contributes to obesity as it affects the amount of calories we eat the next day.  Different hormones affect men and women after a poor night’s sleep.  The hormone ghrelin rises in men, increasing their appetite, and the satiety hormone GLP-I falls in women, so they don’t feel full after eating.


Is your Diet making you FAT?

Well here we are, the second month into the new year and swiftly approaching the third already.

Can you believe it??

Before you know it, the daffodils will be popping up, the leaves on the trees will be sprouting again and everything will be turning greener and springing into life.

So here’s a question for you…How many of you have fallen off the diet wagon already?  Come on now, raise your hands….let’s see…1…2….3,4….5…….6….hmmm….thought so.  Don’t worry, my hand was partially up.  I haven’t been totally bad, but haven’t been totally good either.

I was reading an article over the weekend that talks about the diet mistakes we make and they’re making us fat instead of the other way around.  I admit to sort of doing the second one.  How many of these are you guilty of?


smily-breakfastSome think that not eating breakfast encourages your body to burn fat when in fact, thin people eat breakfast; fat people don’t.

Not eating breakfast leads to overeating later on as your blood sugar drops mid-morning, making you crave foods that aren’t healthy such as that double mocha and Danish.  Plus, you are more likely to binge at night as your body plays catch-up on missed calories, making you more likely to store the calories as fat.

So what should you do?  Any form of protein in the morning ~ plain yogurt with berries, an omelette, smoked salmon or sugar-free muesli with nuts ~ makes for a breakfast of kings, thin ones!  Can’t face having breakfast?  Eat a handful of walnuts or almonds about an hour after waking should be enough to stop you bingeing later.


nocakeIf you eat healthy all week, is it fine to treat yourself at weekends?  Even after 5 days of restraint, two days of freestyle carbicide will make you gain weight. (What’s carbicide?  Eating every bad carbohydrate within reach!)

Let’s say you eat and sensibly manage your carb intake during the week and then binge on lasagna, burgers, bread, cakes, ice cream, etc., over time, you could gain 10 lbs. or more.  Carbs are first stored as glucose and water, but will turn into fat if it isn’t worked off, so you’ll need to do extra exercise during the week.  Many people equate the weekend with being relaxed so therefore, they relax their eating habits.  If you feel compelled to overeat on the weekends, then it suggests the way you’re eating during the week isn’t satisfying you.

So what should you do?  Pepper your working week with small amounts of what you fancy, such as a small glass of wine, a piece of dark chocolate or a bite or two of cake.  If you end up having a big greasy breakfast on Saturday morning, make sure the rest of your meals for the day are healthy.  If you say to yourself ‘oh the damage has been done and I may as well continue for the weekend’, then you’ll gain back weight.  That’s how fat people think.


Diet drinks have no calories so they won’t impact on your weight, right?  Wrong!  People who drink diet sodas are fatter than those who don’t.

Diet drinks feed a sweet tooth as, gram for gram, artificial sweeteners can be 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.  When your body receives a sweet taste without the expected calories, it triggers sweet cravings that make you eat more.  Sweeteners have also been shown to have a similar effect to real sugar on blood glucose and insulin levels.  One study found that a high intake of diet drinks could increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by 67%.

So what should you do?  Drink water or soda water with fresh lime or lemon or have some decaf or herbal tea or coffee.  If you want something sweet, coconut water with nothing added is a natural, healthy choice.


Just because a food is healthy, doesn’t mean you can eat it in excess.

Hummus, pistachios and peanuts contain healthy fats but come will mega calories and often fail the ‘eat just one’ test.  Such foods can act as triggers for those with a tendency to overeat.  A food labeled ‘healthy’ doesn’t give you the option to just completely ignore calories.  Beware of cereals, snack bars and drinks that present themselves as healthy that are anything but.  Most people know that if sugar is listed in the first few ingredients, then it’s best to put it back on the shelf.  However, you do need to be aware of the sneaky ways that manufacturer’s list sugar on ingredients.

So what should you do?  No matter how healthy they are, don’t keep foods around that you find irresistible.  Things like raw almonds or Brazil nuts are a better choice than something like wasabi nuts.  If you find it difficult to have only 1-2 teaspoons of hummus with your veggies for a snack, then choose something else.  Avoid so-called healthy foods with ingredients such as corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, fructose or any other word ending in ‘ose’.  Some foods produced by weight-loss programs can be high in sugar, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates, which increase appetite.


OliveOilDon’t avoid fat if you want to lose weight.  Successful dieters get 30% of their daily calories from fat.

Studies show that the tiny 10% of people who lose weight and keep it off eat moderate amounts of good fats.  Fat is highly satiating and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  When dieters avoid fat, they are hungry all the time.  An obsession with low-fat products merely fuels a craving for fatty foods and that’s why they end up stuffing themselves with cakes and ice cream.  Low fat food is pointless because when the fat is removed, it is replaced with something else to retain taste and texture and that is usually sugar and flour, which provide calories but not very good nutrition.

Fat also provides essential vitamins A, D, E and K.  Unfortunately, we are now deficient in many of these thanks to the low-fat message, especially vitamin D, which is one of the reasons behind the re-emergence of rickets.

So what should you do?  Make sure you eat plenty of good fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids as there is evidence that these help the body burn fat.  Oily fish, coconut oil, walnuts and flax seeds are all good sources.  Put a small bit, about a 1/2 teaspoon of butter in your morning porridge or on your steamed veggies.  Try drizzling extra virgin olive oil on your veggies also as it gives them a nice added flavor.


MaxineDiet90% of people who go on diets regain the weight within a year.  The US national Weight Control Registry studied the habits of the 10% of people who did keep off anything from 30 lbs. to 300 lbs. for five years or more.  Here’s what they did:

78% ate breakfast every day.  75% weighed themselves at least once a week.  62% watched less than 10 hours of TV a week.  90% exercised moderately for an hour every day (most chose walking).


The only diets that have been proven effective for long-term weight loss in randomized controlled studies are those that focus on higher amounts of protein and vegetables, and limit carbohydrates to those with a low glycemic index (GI).  GI is a number rating out of 100 that refers to how quickly a particular food causes spikes in blood sugar.  Low GI is considered 55 or under.

Gives you some things to think about, eh?


Why isn’t your Diet Working?

Hello Campers!

Welcome to Friday Eve!


Sometimes watching what we eat can be a real pain in the butt.  Why can’t we just eat what we want, when we want and maintain a healthy, slim, no-belly-hanging-over-the-jeans, no-having-to-exercise, no double-chin, no big-butt body??  Why?  Because that’s the way our bodies work.


So if we want to have all of that, we have to do the right things, and one of those things is eating the right stuff.  When we hear the word diet, most of us immediately think of eating salads, fruits and veg, nothing fattening, no sugar, no sweets, etc.  But actually, no matter who we are and what we eat, that IS our diet, whether it be healthy or not.

The types of food you eat every day is considered your diet.  You hear about overweight people and what they eat, and that their diet consists of cakes, cookies, fried food, etc.  Vegetarians eat a diet of vegetables.  You get the picture.

But what if your diet isn’t working, especially if you’re trying to eat in a healthy way?  Well a recent article in the paper this week gave several reasons why your diet isn’t working, using the latest scientific research.  From having the wrong genes, listening to pop music or doing the wrong exercises; all of these could have a direct effect on whether you lose weight or not.

Some of them were pretty obvious; eating too many refined carbs, eating in front of the TV, doing only one type of exercise.  But some were rather interesting…

Having milk in your tea  Last year, Indian scientist found tea contains high levels of compounds, theaflavins and thearubigins, that help to reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the gut and can cut cholesterol.  However, proteins found in cows milk neutralize this ability, so drink your tea black.  (It didn’t say anything about soy milk or almond milk, so as I’m one who has to have milk in their tea, I’m now having soy milk in mine)

Avoiding yogurt  A study in the International journal of Obesity found obese adults who ate three servings of fat-free yogurt a day as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than those who simply cut calories.  Yogurt eaters also lost 81% more fat in the stomach area.  It’s thought the calcium and protein in dairy products may help burn to fat.

Under-seasoning your food  Adding a bit of ground cayenne pepper to your meal can help burn calories faster.  It seems the pepper curbs hunger, especially for fatty, salty and sweet foods.

Reading recipe books and magazines  Looking at pictures of high-fat foods stimulates the brain’s appetite control center, leading to an elevated desire for sweet and savory foods.

Eating off the wrong colored plate  A study from the Journal of Consumer Research found that when food is the same color as the plate, it blends in and leads people to eat more.  When the same amount of food is put on a contrasting colored plate, such as pasta on a blue plate, the portion appears larger and is psychologically more satisfying.

Saying ‘I can’t’ when offered food  Research suggests if you say this when asked if you’d like a slice of cake, you’re less likely to stick to you diet, as this signals deprivation and loss.  Using ‘I don’t’ shows a sense of determination and empowerment.

Having to much food to pick from  Fewer food choices and instilling culinary boredom could be the key to successful weight loss.  Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when women were offered the same food over and over again, they tended to eat less overall.

Playing music while eating  If you listen to music as you chew, make sure the music is slow.  Studies showed that listening to faster music led people to eat more quickly, while the opposite was true for slower music.

Doing only one kind of exercise  To get fit, you need to mix exercise such as cycling and running, with weight training or resistance work, including some forms of Pilates.

You don’t have enough brown fat  Thin people are known to have high amounts of beneficial brown fat than the overweight.  Brown fat’s great appeal is that it burns calories faster.  A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that a form of brown fat is turned on when people get cold.

Your parents made you fat  Whether you’re fat or thin could be an inherited factor.  A 2009 UK study showed only 4% of girls with normal-weight mothers were obese, compared with 41% with fat mothers.  Research suggests a very strong link between mother and daughter and father and son obesity, but no link across the gender divide.

So that’s only a quarter of the suggestions given as to why your diet isn’t working.  Want to read the rest of them?  Then go to 40 Reasons why my diet isn’t working.

Time for a cuppa….with soya milk!

♥♥ Terri   ♥♥


Just a reminder:  Still waiting for someone to give me a page number and word number for tomorrow’s Friday Foodie Word!  Remember, I need a page number from 1-632 and a word number 1-20.  Be the first and I’ll even include a link to your blog!

Junk Food TV Ads ~ Is your Child Watching?

According to network rules that regulate British TV, sex scenes are kept off the airwaves until after nine PM in order to protect children from their influence. The results of a recent study conducted by researchers by the University of Liverpool are now prompting calls for similar restrictions on food advertisements.

Young children exposed to ads for unhealthy food products may show a tendency to consume unhealthy foods in higher amounts and may face an increased risk of obesity and associated health problems.

Children between the ages of six and thirteen were shown ten advertisements for junk food. After watching the ads, the children were provided with a questionnaire in which they were asked to choose between three food options. The options were described as “high fat, high carbohydrate”, “high protein,” and “low energy.” The high protein options included items like roast chicken. The low energy options included items like salad.

After answering the questions, the children were then shown a series of ten advertisements for toys and presented with a similar questionnaire.

The results of the study suggest that children exposed to unhealthy food ads (as opposed to toy ads) are far more likely to show unhealthy eating preferences. These effects were especially pronounced among study subjects who typically watched more than 21 hours of TV per week.

As they made these unhealthy selections, the children did not discriminate based on brand. According to lead researcher Dr. Emma Boyland, this was one of the most worrisome results of the survey.

“The unhealthy options we gave them after the adverts were not the same as those which were featured in the adverts,” said Boyland. “This suggests that children are encouraged to eat bad food in general, which is worse.”

Existing network rules already outlaw junk food advertising on dedicated children’s channels and on programs directly targeted to children under the age of nine. The findings of this study are now leading scientists like Boyland to push for new restrictions that would keep junk food ads limited until a watershed of nine PM.

Like the U.S., Britain is facing what many describe as an obesity epidemic. According the British Department of Health, almost one in ten six year olds and fifteen percent of fifteen year olds in England are currently classified as obese.

“We really need to be careful about when these adverts are being shown,” says Boyland. “A watershed for junk food adverts would ensure that they are banned from not just children’s programs during the day but programs shown at night where families view them together. Parents also need to limit their children’s screen time and talk to them about the motives behind advertising.”

A Reply to a Comment from Canada

I enjoyed reading your blog and your goals for healthy weight release…I am making a long over due effort to nourish myself for good health ….years ago i had goodluck with Weight Watchers and remember the essence of how to do it so I am trying to just do it on my own….rather than spend money on the program…we will see….as i go along I intend to cook well for myself as I love cooking…money saved will go to arts pursuits as a reward….Tonight I made a veggie/minestrone soup so that should stave off hunger pangs…I will check in on your blog from time to time….best wishes from Canada!

I normally reply to comments on the comment page, but this one felt like it should get its own posting.  I usually check my mobile phone first thing in the morning to see if I’ve received any comments on my posts so that I can think about my reply before actually getting on the computer.  As the words went through my head, it seemed I was getting a bit long-winded for a reply, but felt it would be OK to do an open reply in a post…I hope ‘Canada’ doesn’t mind. Continue reading

Can we be Too Thin? ~ Yes!

Happy Monday Dear Readers!

This morning while getting myself ready for the day (ie: standing in front of the bathroom mirror) I was thinking about what I was going to make for breakfast.  It may have been 6:00 am and I knew I wouldn’t be eating for at least another 3-4 hours, but I like to think ahead about what I’m going to eat, now that I’m trying to eat healthy again. (The weekends don’t count ;))

So at first I thought about a couple of poached eggs on a toasted slice of my homemade bread, perhaps with some mushrooms and low-fat cheese.  I went on about the morning doing various things, some wash, ironing, feeding the cats, figuring out what to make for dinner, etc. Continue reading

Back to Normal Eating aka South Beach Diet

Oh dear.

I’ve been psyching myself up over the past week for today…the day I get back to proper, normal eating.  I can stop eating as if I was going to be executed and each meal was my last.  I can stop eating all the Christmas cookies, special chocolates, butter-laden gravies and sauces and drinking all the heavy liqueurs (Port, Cream Sherry, etc.)  All things that I should not be eating or drinking; especially since most of it is not amongst the foods allowed on South Beach Diet.  Yes, I’ve been a very naughty girl.

I stepped on the (digital) scale this morning and almost passed out from shock at the numbers flashing before my eyes.  As I said, I was psyching myself up for this day, so it really shouldn’t have been much of a shock, but it was.  Why is it that it’s so difficult to lose weight yet you can put it on in a flash?  Why is the sky blue?  How high is up?  Oh sorry, I digress.

So as I have gained nearly 10 lbs. over the past couple of months, it’s time to get back on the wagon.  I almost feel embarrassed as I said I was going to stick with the SBD way of eating because I didn’t want to gain weight again and what do I do?  I can only put it down to one thing: (Quoting Billy Joel): We’re only human. We’re allowed to make some mistakes.

Considering how I’ve been eating over these past few weeks, I think I did pretty good so far today.  I’ve had no butter, no cookies (even though there’s a bag of them sitting on the counter to give to the kids across the street), no crackers or bread (I did have two oat cakes with a light spreading of natural peanut butter this morning to get me through until I had breakfast) and no leftovers (there’s a container of creamy mash in the fridge along with a lovely gravy that went with the leg of lamb from last night).  The only leftovers I had was the broccoli from last night which had just been steamed.  I had that this morning with my onion, spring onion, garlic and mushroom fritatta with a light sprinkling of Blue Stilton for a bit of flavor…and a glass of tomato juice.

Lunch was a Linda McCartney burger with lettuce, tomato, avocado, low-fat cottage cheese and some SB creamy Dijon-thyme dressing.

OK, I cannot tell a lie; I had one After Eight dinner mint earlier.  They were just staring at me saying ‘eat me’. ;D

For dinner, I’ll be making pork loin chops (how yet, I don’t know) along with some red Carmargue rice I picked up at the wholefoods store in Canterbury before Christmas.  We’ve got a huge bag of fresh spinach so I may cook that up too.  There will be no alcohol consumed…at least until Friday…and yes, I’m still doing pizza night.

So I’m on the first step (again!) of my journey to losing all this flab.  I need to be able to fit back into these ↓ white crop jeans in the Spring!

Now to go look through the SB cookbook to see how I’ll prepare the pork chops….